Three Questions Answered About EMDR!
What Is EMDR?
EMDR therapy, also called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy is a kind of psychotherapy developed to help individuals affected by traumatic events. The therapy was initially developed to treat individuals who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, lately, it has also been used to treat various mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and phobias. EMDR has been known to be successful in helping people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences.
How Does EMDR As A Treatment Work?
The theory behind EMDR is that the brain stores memories in fragments. These fragments can be reassembled to help people overcome their problems. The premise on which this treatment works is that traumatic memory is often stored in the brain in a way that is not easily accessible to the individual. These memories can cause ongoing emotional distress and can interfere with an individual’s ability to function in their daily life. EMDR therapy is designed to help the individual access and process these traumatic memories so that they can be integrated into the individual’s overall life experiences.
EMDR therapy is typically conducted in a series of sessions. During these sessions, the therapist will guide the individual through a series of eye movements, sounds, or taps while the individual focuses on a specific traumatic memory. The therapist will also ask the individual to focus on the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations during the process.
The theory behind EMDR therapy is that eye movements, sounds, or taps help activate the brain’s natural information processing system, allowing the individual to process and integrate the traumatic memories in a less emotionally distressing way.
What is the role of the therapist during an EMDR session?
During an EMDR session, the therapist will first help the individual identify a specific traumatic memory they would like to work on while tracking your eye movements with theirs (or, if you prefer, they’ll use hand movements, also known as bilateral stimulation). This process helps you reprocess the negative feelings associated with that memory so you can move forward with your life instead of being stuck in its past. The therapist will help you process the negative emotions, thoughts, and sensations associated with difficult memories. The therapist may guide you through a tapping process or have you follow a back-and-forth movement as suggested by the name “eye movement desensitization.” Eye movements are believed to mimic REM sleep, during which the brain processes and stores memories.
The approach is often effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can also be used to address anxiety disorders. The therapist will help you process the negative emotions, thoughts, and sensations associated with difficult memories.
A trained EMDR therapist will guide you through eye movement, sound, or tap while the individual focuses on the traumatic memory. The therapist will also ask the individual to focus on the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations during the process. During the session, individuals can depend on their therapist for continuous guidance until they feel that the traumatic memory has been processed and integrated. This can take one or more sessions. After the traumatic memory has been processed, the therapist will help the individual to develop new coping strategies and to integrate the experience into their overall life experiences.
While EMDR has been used for decades as an effective treatment for (PTSD), it also works well with other anxiety disorders and even some phobias. It is a highly effective form of therapy that can help you recover from trauma. If you’re experiencing symptoms of PTSD or an anxiety disorder, it is advisable to get help and ask your therapist or physician about EMDR. Take that first step, and our team at NOVA Psychology promises to be there for you!
If you’re looking for help in managing some of your anxiety and depression symptoms, working with a psychologist may be helpful for you. At Nova Psychology, we offer counselling services in Edmonton. We specialize in individual counselling for grief & loss, stress and burnout, complex/developmental trauma, parenting issues, self-esteem and body image-related issues. We also provide counselling on LGBTQ+ Issues, gender and sexuality/gender identity, life transitions and personal growth & development-related issues. Contact us to learn more about our services or to book an appointment.